How to select an outplacement partner

The debate between offering outplacement services with the help of inhouse resources versus hiring a partner firm seems to be more or less settled. Increasingly, a larger number of corporations are choosing to work with HR consulting firms as a partner for the outplacement services that are offered to employees usually during times of business uncertainty that lead to layoffs and resizing.

The service has become closely linked to the long-term brand value of the company offering it. It is important to ensure that the basket of facilities offered is what adds most value to the outgoing employees. That being said, this basket has, over time, acquired a fairly standard shape.

What has become more important is the choice of the right partner.

What should the company look for when deciding upon a partner who will work with their outgoing employees and provide outplacement support to them? Of course, it is to be assumed that while scouting for a partner, the company has determined the set of services it is looking for.

Capability set

What are the services the prospective partner offers or has the capability to offer? Career coaching, interview preparation, job search resources, personal branding and networking are some of the common services on offer. Which of these are they in a position to provide effectively? More importantly, are they aligned to the set of services that the company needs for its employees.

Prior experience

Like humans, companies also learn and progress. Once the basic fit between services required and offered has been established, the prospective partner’s prior experience in offering them should also be ascertained, including references from their past clients. This is not to say that first-timers should be ignored. In some cases, prospective HR partners looking to create a new service will offer great pricing and value to clients. Of course, as a client, you will need to ascertain their skills-sets to satisfy yourself that they can deliver to your requirements.

Complementary products and services

We live in a dynamic world, always on the move, always changing. Outplacement is usually a one-time or periodic requirement. It is not a ‘business as usual’ activity. While outplacement services may be required at one point in time, you may require hiring and staffing support at other times. Mature HR services firms like Ushankk create value by offering a bouquet of services for which there is an ongoing need, whether outplacement at one time and staffing at another. In fact, offering a bouquet provides the ‘network’ advantage to professional HR firms that enable them to create value for clients.

Industry expertise

In a competitive world, any form of advantage is beneficial, such as industry expertise. If you are a bank looking for outplacement support from an HR solution provider, everything else being equal, it might be helpful to have a provider on-board who has prior experience of working with banks. They might be better equipped to understand the rhythms of the business and its requirements. They will also be better placed at supporting employees.

Human touch

While it may be difficult to specify and quantify, in outplacement, the human touch is critical, perhaps over and above the technical requirements we have discussed earlier. Employees who have lost jobs feel vulnerable. It is an unusual situation to be in. A friendly, helping hand can help them tide over the situation. As we know, such situations are usually temporary. Most people will move on to another assignment soon. But while they do not have a firm offer, they need support and guidance. With several decades of experience, the people of Ushankk have a long history of supporting people through such times. In fact, many such people become individual customers of Ushankk for support with their career moves.

In conclusion, we would add that in addition to the selection of a partner who fits the bill, it is also important for your HR teams to closely work with the selected firm to ensure that the services are set up in a way that will help your company meet its goals. This helps in ensuring that the goals and strategies of the two firms are aligned.

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